A political junkie since, oh, age 4 or so (according to my mother's scrapbook), I've, yes, been paying attention to this week's Republican convention.
I'm still 60/40 leaning toward Obama, based almost solely on the Republicans' right-wing claims that poor women shouldn't have access to birth control or abortions, and that the love between gay people somehow isn't as spiritual or worthy of official state-sanctioned union as the unions sanctioned between straight people. (The latter group's marriage record is pathetic: 50% success rate? What about THAT is needy of official admiration by the state? What about THAT does gay marriage "threaten" exactly?)
I'm also in support of Obama's health-care plan. There are too many horror stories about people losing their life-savings and/or, more importantly, their loved ones because their stingy corporate health-care providers skimped on necessary care. The people were lower-class/lower-middle-class and couldn't afford the costs of extensive care when necessary. People were dying and their survivors were being bankrupt as a result. That crappy system needed fixing, on purely moral grounds.
So I'm leaning Obama, based purely on social issues.
But still, there's the underlying abstract (which actually does represent reality, a reality that I've deeply felt personally): Since 2008: the 25% increase in unemployment, the tripling of the budget deficit, the downgrading of the US Moody's rating for the first time ever... I'm 47, and I've NEVER been knocked around by the economy, ever, as like what I've experienced since 2008. This shit has seriously, deeply messed with my life both economically and psychologically. That's HARD to get past in favor of "well, Obama SOMETIMES does the right moral thing." (I.e., he's right on health-care and gay marriage, but his foreign policy is EXACTLY the same as Republicans, and his knowledge of the economy is non-existent.)
Another dilemma for me is how Romney actually governed in Massachusetts: Only 13% of the state is Republican. Yet he worked with the other side: Balancing the budget. Assembling a sensible health-care plan of his own volition. Supporting gay rights. Supporting women's rights to choice.
Yeah, the man sold his soul to the right-wing in this year's primaries in order to get the nomination. But the fact remains what he actually DID while in power in Massachusetts: balanced a deficit budget while not infringing on anyone's rights. And what he did in his business life: At Bain, cleaned up moribund companies (yes, sometimes cutting jobs, but often saving the company and, thus, the jobs); and then the famous "savior" act at the 1992 Utah Winter Olympics, when the US committee was engulfed in corruption and ineptitude, and Romney came in to clean up the whole mess.
Our country IS in a complete financial mess right now. Common sense says that Romney--based on his experience in the financial world--is the man with the knowledge and experience to clean up. My dilemma is: The "Massachusetts Romney" is the man to clean up! NOT the do-anything-to-win Romney that kowtowed to right-wing nuts in the primary.
There's a trope going around right now on the Internet that if you haven't made up your mind between Obama and Romney by this point in time, then you're essentially an idiot, since the philosophical choice is apparently so stark. Hah! The "choice" isn't very stark at all. Obama has as many corporate sponsors as Romney. Obama copied Romney's health-care plan. The Democrat/Republican foreign policy is exactly the same. And then: Romney's proved himself to be an extremely efficient leader in the tasks he's undertaken, while Obama has not.
It's a real dilemma to me.